Posted by: tylere108 | January 15, 2010

Reflections from Copenhagen: Where do we go from here?

Happy New Year to you all!

Let me first apologize to those who were following my Copenhagen blog at the end of last year. The last week of the negotiations (when things really got interesting) I fell off the face of the earth. unfortunately, due to too many people being registered for the summit and the internet problems in my Copenhagen apartment, i was unable to get online for the last 3 days of my trip. So the blog died and then I went on vacation.

But during that vacation, I spent a lot of time reflecting on all that happened and all that didn’t happen in Copenhagen and I have come to a few conclusions that I wanted to share.

First, I think most of us know by now that we didn’t achieve all that we would have liked to achieved in Copenhagen. The Copenhagen Accord, which emerged from this process, does not mandate the necessary emissions reductions to truly protect God’s people and God’s Creation from the worst impacts of climate change . . . . so regardless of anything else, there is still much work to be done. People continue to suffer and when each country delivers their anticipated emissions reductions targets at the end of the month (as mandated by the Accord) I have a feeling we will all be underwhelmed by what is put on the table.

So thats the bad news . . . . and for some that is the end of the story, but for me its the beginning.

There are some glimmers of hope that emerged from this process. First Secretary Clinton and the Obama Administration established a commitment level of $100 billion dollars for developing nations by 2020. This money would come from the public and private sector and would be used to help address mitigation, adaptation and likely forestry issues around the world. And though the details have yet to be hammered out, this is the first commitment of its kind from the US or the developed world addressing the needs of those who are living in poverty and most impacted by climate change. You can read the press statement that the NCC put together on this here:

The next thing that I believe is worth lifting up is the involvement of China and India in this process. In the last day, and really the final hours of the summit, China, India and the US were able to establish an accord that could bring everyone to the table. In doing so, China and India recognized that they will have to reduce their emissions to successfully address climate change on a global scale. Remember what I said before, the emissions reductions aren’t enough, so even though they are at the table, they will have to do more. But they are at the table. And at the table because President Obama helped to get them there.

So with all of this, there is one final note that I would like to make. Though the Copenhagen Conference didn’t turn out the way we all would have liked, we have a unique opportunity in front of us. Leading up to Copenhagen, it became clear that we would not have an international treaty emerging from these talks. But President Obama did state that whatever came out of Copenhagen would be used to reached an international treaty in 2010. Ew have a unique opportunity to ensure that the US lives up to its promise and continues to pursue an international treaty that will address this issue. We can no longer say that China and India aren’t doing anything because we are the ones that brought them to the table. We can no longer stick our heads in the sand and pretend like nothing is happening.

This is the year for the US, the administration, and each and every one of us to step up to the plate. We are running out of time, and we are running out of the Kyoto Protocol. We need a strong and effective next step that will truly meet the needs of those who are suffering and who are likely to suffer if we fail to act.

As one of the many signs so aptly put it – we’ve heard enough of the “blah, blah, blah” – the time for action is upon us.


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